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NASCAR Cup Series

Four Drivers Set For Chase Debut

The 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase for the Championship will feature four drivers making their first career Chase appearance.

Kyle Larson, Chris Buescher, Chase Elliott and Austin Dillon are looking to overcome the odds and become champions. They make up a quarter of the 16-car Chase field, and as they say, “you’ve gotta be in it to win it.”      

So, what can we expect from each of these four drivers in the Chase?

 

Kyle Larson
Age: 24
Team: Chip Ganassi Racing, No. 42 Chevrolet
Seed: 10
Best Finish: 1st, August Michigan
Crew Chief: Chad Johnston

Kyle Larson is the most dangerous driver in the 16-car Chase field. In the two races since his first career win three weeks ago, Larson has finished third at Darlington followed by a second at Richmond, respectively.

After getting the long-awaited first win lifted from his chest, we’re starting to see one of the stars of the Sprint Cup Series blossom. He is a threat to win races weekly, and if he can put 10 full races together, watch out. Larson’s team is hot right now heading into the Chase and is one of my picks to make it to the final round in Homestead, maybe getting a win or two along the way.

 

Chris Buescher
Age: 23
Team: Front Row Motorsports, No. 34 Ford
Seed: 13
Best Finish: 1st, August Pocono
Crew Chief: Bob Osborne

Let’s give credit where it’s due: out of the four rookies in the class of 2016, Chris Buescher was talked about the least, yet became the first winner of the group. After his win at Pocono, he clawed his way into the top 30 in points to be Chase-eligible, and he’s made it to the big dance. Anything he does from here on out is gravy.

Perhaps even more impressive than his win at Pocono was his top-five a few weeks later at Bristol. Buescher has exceeded expectations given the equipment he is in. I don’t see this team advancing past the first round, but what an accomplishment it is for this team even to get into the Chase.

 

Chase Elliott
Age: 20
Team: Hendrick Motorsports, No. 24 Chevrolet
Seed: 14
Best Finish: 2nd, Michigan (twice)
Crew Chief: Alan Gustafson

Chase Elliott has done a tremendous job (though he won’t admit it) at filling the driver’s seat of the famous No. 24. Elliott stepped into a team that raced for the championship last season with Jeff Gordon, and outside of getting a win, has outperformed their statistics.

Most people were aware of his talent level, but no one thought he would be contending for wins as early in his career as he has shown so far. His maturity is that of a veteran, and if he has a little fun, he could go a couple of rounds. I don’t think this team is quite championship-caliber, but I didn’t think Jeff Gordon’s team last year was championship-caliber until he won at Martinsville.

 

Austin Dillon
Age: 26
Team: Richard Childress Racing, No. 3 Chevrolet
Seed: 15
Best Finish: 3rd, May Talladega
Crew Chief: Slugger Labbe

Austin Dillon is the lone Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet in the Chase and has shown signs at times of running with the leaders, but he hasn’t been able to put it all together and get a win. Needless to say, this team is still young and only getting better. Just a couple years ago, RCR stablemate, Ryan Newman made it all the way to the final round, having never won a race.

Dillon would rather get a win, but to do so, he will certainly need to run better at the opening three races (Chicagoland, Loudon, Dover) of the Chase than history shows. I expect Dillon to make it through to the second round, but this team isn’t quite ready this year for a title run.

Shane Carlson is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist

EMAIL SHANE AT shane.carlson@popularspeed.com
TWITTER: @ShaneCarlson4

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or staff. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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NASCAR Cup Series

Engine Woes Halt Buescher’s Momentum

Coming off of a solid fourth place finish at Bristol, Chris Buescher positioned himself inside the top-30 with a 13 point cushion ahead of 31st. Doing exactly what he needed to in order to make the Chase, it seemed as though everything was going just as he wanted.

Unfortunately, that would not remain the case for Buescher and his team exiting Michigan, as a major setback forced them to settle for a 35th place finish.

The 2015 XFINITY Series Champion qualified 21st but wouldn’t stay there for long as he immediately began to fall backward with engine related problems. The No. 34 remained on the lead lap up till the competition caution on Lap 20, but fell several laps down after making multiple pit stops for the team to diagnose the issue.

“Kudos to my guys for keeping their heads down and working at it and getting it fixed. Usually when you have engine trouble you are along for the ride.” Buescher said post-race. “It ended up being something a little bit more simple than I guess we originally figured. We got back up and running and made some laps and made a really terrible day into just an okay day. Now we get to go to Darlington, and I am excited for that. I was excited for here. Even with the troubles we had the balance was really good, so it is a shame we didn’t really get to participate today.”

The No. 34 team eventually fixed the issue plaguing them and  got Buescher back on track without any problems. By only losing seven laps during the repairs, the 23-year-old managed to pick up spots throughout the race, which could prove vital in keeping him inside the top-30 in the point standings.

Now with two races remaining before the Chase, Buescher sits only seven points ahead of David Ragan.

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NASCAR Cup Series

Buescher Attacks Bristol En Route to Top-Five

Just three weeks after his tremendous and unexpected win at Pocono, Chris Buescher has just increased his chances of securing a spot in this year’s Chase.

The rookie now sits 13 points ahead of 30th in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup after scoring a top-five finish in Sunday’s rain-delayed Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Starting in 12th, the driver of the No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops Food for Front Row Motorsports was running just within the top-20 during most of the first half of the race.

However, after avoiding the multi-car crash at Lap 358, Buescher fought his way up the pack and close to the lead where he stayed for the remainder of the race.

“This thing was good from the start of the weekend,” Buescher said. “We kept working our way up towards the end and got to the top five, and almost got one there at the end.”

Even as the steady rain began to pour on the track and the final 50 or so laps were delayed, Buescher says he and his team were “fortunate” to have the time to make the adjustments necessary to finish well.

“Once we started adjusting on it, we definitely started heading in the right direction,” he explained. “Our Ford was awesome on long runs. We’d fire off about two or three laps it would take to get rolling, and it was tough for those couple, and then we were able to move around.”
Once the cars came back on the track, the 23-year-old said he hardly looked in the rearview mirror, instead focusing on what was ahead of him.

Though he may have lost the opportunity to pass Austin Dillon and garner more points during the final few laps, Buescher said his car was nonetheless competitive.

“We weren’t quite a winning car, but we were every bit of a top-5 car and should have been a little bit better there at the end,” he added. “Could have been a little bit better there at the end. We’ve got to be aware of it, but we’re still going to be aggressive with our racing style.”

Buescher and his team now have only three races remaining before the 16-team Chase field is locked in. He says the plan of attack  is to run as competitively they were at Bristol, if not more.

“We’re not here just to lay over and be conservative. We’re going out for good finishes to stretch that points to be comfortable at Richmond,” he added. “That’s Chase eligibility in one race out of the four we had to do it. Now we have to hold onto it.”

Vivian Meza is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or staff. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement. 

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NASCAR Cup Series

Buescher Left Frustrated Following Late Race Incident

Racing fortunes can turn from great to not so good in the span of a week – just ask Chris Buescher. After winning last weekend at Pocono Raceway, he found himself with a wrecked racecar on Sunday at Watkin’s Glen.

The driver of the No. 34 CSX Play it Safe Ford Fusion spent the race running outside of the top-20, though poised to cross the finish line solidly to gain some points in the standings. However, with seven laps to go, Paul Menard got off the track a little, kicking dirt up in the air. Behind him, nobody could see which resulted in Buescher being one of the five drivers wrecked out.

“(I) just went through the Bus Stop there, and there was just a wall of dirt as everybody ran off,” he said. “As soon as I cleared through it, there was a car sitting there backwards. Just tried to avoid it. Pretty much cost us a handful of spots and a decent amount of points. It’s a bummer it worked out the way it did.”

Buescher’s Ford Fusion wasn’t severely damage, though the front splitter being stuck in the mud resulted in him requiring a toe back to the garage. Buescher had hoped to just get a push back and be able to get back going, however the clean up crew did not have anything to hook up to the rear to pull from there.

“They’re depending on being able to push the back bumper to get you moving,” he said. “We didn’t have that opportunity. I get it. I mean, I get why they made me get out. I was just really frustrated and tried really hard to stay in it so we could keep rolling without losing any spots.”

Once he was back in the garage, the team quickly made repairs, getting Buescher back out on track for a 30th place finish.

“They assessed the damage during the red flag,” Buescher said. “Got back into the car. As soon as the caution came back out, they hustled, got it back fixed up, rolling, pretty much saved our day. Owe a lot to them today. They made sure we were able to stay in the points hunt. Not the way we want to do it. Really can’t have more days like that if we’re going to try and get in that top 30, but proud of them for their efforts to get it turned around.”

As a result, Buescher remains 31st in points, now three points outside of the top-30 in points to qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

“We’ve got to do a good job these next few,” he said. “Take the off weekend, visit the family in Texas, come back and regroup and be ready to go to Bristol. We were pretty good there last time. Front Row Motorsports brings some good cars to that track. Me and Landon (Cassill) were both pretty happy with the speed of our cars. I feel like that is a place we can gain some points and maybe put a little bit of a cushion on that Chase bubble for us right there.”

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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Commentary

CARLSON: 5 Drivers Currently Feeling Chase Pressure

As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series hits the dog days of summer, the barometric pressure is most certainly rising for some drivers this weekend in Watkins Glen.

Here’s a short list of who needs to capitalize on the season’s final road course with just five races remaining until the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

AJ Allmendinger
There’s no driver in the field placing more emphasis on winning than ‘Dinger, and the No. 47 team. His lone Sprint Cup Series win came here in 2014, and he has four top-10s in his seven starts. Last season, he qualified on the front row, only to have a mechanical issue spoil his effort. Allmendinger also has road course wins at Elkhart Lake and Mid-Ohio in the XFINITY Series, making him a favorite heading into Sunday’s Cheez-It 355. Currently 21st in the standings, he needs a win to leapfrog himself into the Chase.

Trevor Bayne
Bayne will be running double-duty at Watkins Glen as he is making just his second career Cup start at the New York road course. He is on the outside looking in of the Chase and will most likely need to gain 28 points and catch Kyle Larson, assuming Chris Buescher will crack the top-30. Notably, Bayne finished 22nd last season at the Glen. Currently 17th in the standings, he is the highest-running Ford out of the Roush Fenway Racing stable, a team which had no drivers to the Chase last season.

Chris Buescher
Who thought winning put more pressure on drivers to make the Chase? Well, Chris Buescher is experiencing exactly that as he comes into The Glen just six points outside of the top-30, the benchmark required to gain entry into NASCAR’s playoffs. There’s not a large notebook for Buescher this weekend, as far as the Cup Series goes, as he finished 37th there last season in his lone Cup start to go with a third-place finish in the XFINITY Series last season. He caught NASCAR by surprise last weekend with his win at Pocono, and he has been the talk of the garage this week. His goal is to finish ahead of David Ragan, who currently holds the 30th spot in the standings.

Clint Bowyer
Bowyer has the potential to blow up the Chase picture this weekend. He has had a dismal season in his stepping-stone season at HScott Motorsports, but he’s turned himself into a pretty good road course racer. He’s never won at Watkins Glen but does have four top-10s to his name. At Sonoma, though technically different than The Glen, he boasts eight top-10s in 11 starts, including a win. Sitting 25th in the standings, the only way Bowyer can bust into the Chase is with a win. Looking at the races remaining, Watkins Glen is his best shot in an otherwise lost season.

Kyle Larson
The noise is getting louder for Larson to get his first Sprint Cup Series win. Most experts predicted he would certainly have a win under his belt by now, but it just hasn’t happened. He’s had good runs spoiled by bad luck, and just hasn’t put together a complete race. That said, he is currently in the Chase field, but hanging on by a thread. If Tony Stewart and Chris Buescher both make it into the Chase, that puts Larson on the outside looking in. Watkins Glen is not a place he’s enjoyed much success, having just one top-10 in two Cup starts, and no top-10s in three XFINITY starts.

Shane Carlson is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist

EMAIL SHANE AT shane.carlson@popularspeed.com
TWITTER: @ShaneCarlson4

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or staff. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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NASCAR Cup Series

Bayne Hoping Seat-Time Pays Off

Trevor Bayne is eight points short of making the field for the 2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup as it stands.

With Chris Buescher’s victory last weekend, and assuming Buescher avoids catastrophe in the lead-up to the Chase and can erase the six-point deficit he is currently facing as a result of being outside the top-30 in points, Bayne is facing even longer odds.

If Buescher gets into the Chase, that pushes Kasey Kahne out, and the last driver in would be Kyle Larson.

Larson is 28 points ahead of Bayne with five races remaining until the Chase begins.

That’s why Bayne will be running double-duty this weekend at Watkins Glen International.

Along with making his second career Cup start in the Cheez-It 355 on Sunday, Bayne will also be competing in the XFINITY Series in the No. 60 AdvoCare Ford Mustang for Roush Fenway Racing.

Buescher won the XFINITY Series title last year driving the No. 60 Roush Fenway entry.

“Double-duty will definitely be fun this weekend at Watkins Glen,” Bayne said. “It’s been a while since we’ve raced in the XFINITY Series and I’m really excited to have AdvoCare on board for both races this weekend.”

Add a brand new repave, and Trevor Bayne has his work cut out for him this weekend, but he’ll have a leg up on the other Sprint Cup competitors by the time Sunday rolls around.

“Getting to race in the XFINITY race will be a huge help for Sunday,” he said. “With the track being freshly repaved, it will be very fast and unpredictable. This extra track time will allow me to get as many laps as possible to help us get comfortable and try to gain the most points possible toward the Chase come Sunday.”

Bayne last competed in the XFINITY Series in 2014 before going full-time in the Cup Series for Roush Fenway Racing and finished 29th in the standings as a rookie last year.

Saturday’s race will mark Bayne’s fifth career XFINITY Series start at The Glen, where he has two top-10s.

He finished 22nd in his lone Watkins Glen Sprint Cup start last season.

Shane Carlson is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist

EMAIL SHANE AT shane.carlson@popularspeed.com
TWITTER: @ShaneCarlson4

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or staff. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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NASCAR Cup Series

Buescher Sets Sights on Clinching Chase Spot

The goal of the current Chase for the Sprint Cup format is to place an emphasis on winning. Reaching Victory Lane in the first 26 races essentially guarantees a driver a spot in the playoffs and the ability to contend for a championship, provided they are in the top 30 in points.

Chris Buescher’s miraculous victory at Pocono has now placed his team in playoff contention, a position they likely didn’t imagine themselves in just days before the Pennsylvania 400.

Now that the most difficult part is over, the next step is to crack the top 30 in points. Currently, Buescher sits 31st, six points behind David Ragan, who scored FRM’s first victory when he won at Talladega in 2013. Now Buescher will battle the No. 34 car’s former driver as he hopes to achieve another milestone for the organization.

FRM lacks the resources of many larger Sprint Cup organizations which makes it difficult to compete with the speed of the perennial Chase contenders. However, all the 2015 XFINITY Series champion will need to do in the next five races is outperform the cars closest to him in points.

This won’t be a stretch for the No. 34 team as they have shown promise at times in 2016. The week before winning at Pocono, Buescher scored his best finish of the season at Indianapolis by coming home 14th. 

In the first half of the year, Buescher captured two top-20 results. He finished 18th at Dover in May and came home 20th at Michigan in June. The good news? Michigan is among the final five regular season races. As is Bristol, where Buescher finished 21st in April.

Next on the schedule is Watkins Glen, which was one of the six Sprint Cup events Buescher competed in last season. While he finished a disappointing 37th, he gained valuable experience on the course which will benefit him this weekend. In six road course starts in the XFINITY Series, Buescher has four top 10s and earned his first career win at Mid-Ohio in 2014.

Darlington will be another challenge on the road to the Chase. However, Buescher finished fifth in the XFINITY Series race last year and has experience competing at the track “Too Tough to Tame.”

The rookie has three top-10 finishes in the XFINITY Series at Richmond, host of the regular season finale. In his first Sprint Cup start at the track in April, he ended up 34th.

Despite being just six points out of Chase contention and Buescher having experience at every track left in the regular season, there’s still almost no room for error. But as long as Buescher doesn’t have a repeat performance of the four-race stretch prior to Indianapolis, where he recorded a best finish of 29th, it’s reasonable to expect him to take FRM to the Chase for the first time.

And once the rookie cracks the top 30, he’ll make life that much more difficult for drivers on the bubble. Kyle Larson currently occupies the final spot on the Chase Grid, 20 points ahead of Kasey Kahne. With Buescher sneaking into a Chase position, Larson would need to make up 19 markers on teammate Jamie McMurray and make it all but impossible for any driver behind Larson to reach the postseason without a win.

This underdog story has added a new twist to the Chase picture and will increase the urgency among many teams ahead of the playoffs.

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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NASCAR Cup Series

Osborne’s Gamble Pays Off at Pocono, Ends Personal Winless Streak

When NASCAR officials decided the fog and misty weather were enough to end the Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway 22 laps short of the advertised distance, Front Row Motorsports driver Chris Buescher shockingly earned his first career Sprint Cup Series victory.

While it was a tremendous upset for the 2015 XFINITY Series champion to get the win with FRM, crew chief Bob Osborne stood alongside the 23-year-old rookie in Victory Lane, which he hadn’t visited as the man atop the pit box since March 2011.

Osborne, who now has 19 career Cup victories, got his first Cup win with someone other than Carl Edwards on Monday. He last celebrated in Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Victory Lane more than five years ago when Edwards was racing for Roush Fenway Racing in the No. 99 Ford.

The veteran crew chief gambled by keeping his driver on the track as the field cycled through green flag stops. Buescher inherited the lead once all the leaders stopped and on Lap 133, his gamble paid off as the yellow flag waved for fog covering the track.

After 138 laps, NASCAR instructed cars to come to pit road and after more than an hour under the red flag, the race was called.

“To be honest with you, we had a top-15 car,” Osborne said. “It’s headed in the right direction from our first race here and for where we are with our program. With fate really going our way today and with calls going our way, which we haven’t had a lot of this year, it worked to put us in a position to win it.”

Osborne’s goal coming into the weekend was to better the No. 34 Ford’s performance from the last race at Pocono in early June, when the team finished 28th.

“Coming into the weekend, we wanted to improve on the first time we were here and have a better-handling racecar relative to the competition,” Osborne said. “We did accomplish that — we had a more competitive car than what we had the first race. I was happy to see that, and we’re going to continue to do that race after race for the rest of the season.”

Osborne and his young driver still have some work to do if they’re going to compete in NASCAR’s playoffs. With five races left until the first Chase race at Chicagoland Speedway, he is six points behind BK Racing’s David Ragan for 30th.

Osborne sat out as a crew chief in 2013 and 2014 due to an unspecified health issue. In 2015, he returned to the role as Trevor Bayne’s crew chief with Roush Fenway and scored two top 10s.

While he’ll now feel the pressure of making Buescher a top-30 driver in the standings, there must feel some relief in ending an 89-race winless streak.

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or staff. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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NASCAR Cup Series

RAPID REACTION: A Foggy Miracle

Following a wild and wet weekend at Pocono Raceway, the underdog prevailed as rookie Chris Buescher captured his first career Sprint Cup Series victory.

With rain threatening the Pennsylvania 400 throughout its postponed running on Monday, strategy varied among the field as teams attempted to place their cars out front if the race ended early.

However, once the weather rolled in, it was the Front Row Motorsports No. 34 team that perfected the strategy en route to victory.

A Foggy Miracle

Buescher’s outlook on the season heading into the weekend was centered around gaining experience in a Sprint Cup Series car. The Chase wasn’t on his radar because he would need a win in the final six regular season races to make the playoffs.

As a result of a brilliant strategy call from crew chief Bob Osborne and the timing of dense fog rolling into Pocono, his entire approach to the remainder of his rookie campaign has changed

Buescher last pitted on Lap 105 and stayed out long enough during the final round of green flag pit stops to remain ahead of Brad Keselowski. Once the caution came out on Lap 133 with fog blanketing the track, he was in the lead and headed to Victory Lane.

Currently six points out of 30th in points, Buescher and the No. 34 team will shift their focus to cracking the top 30 and earning Front Row Motorsports’ first ever berth in the Chase.

Bad Luck Strikes Again

Martin Truex Jr.’s season has been defined by strong performances and bad luck. While the bad luck hasn’t been as prevalent in recent weeks, it struck again in the Pennsylvania 400.

The No. 78 Furniture Row Toyota started on the pole and led the opening 15 laps until the competition caution. He pitted under the yellow flag for two tires and exited pit road first.

On the initial restart, he fell back a couple of positions and his right front tire went down as he entered Turn 2. The car then shot up the track and slammed into the wall, causing significant damage to an early race favorite.

Shortly after the crash, Goodyear determined the reason for the flat tire was an inner valve stem had been knocked off the tire. He suffered two additional flats later in the race, putting the team behind the wall and ending their day in 38th.

Wrong Place, Wrong Time

Restarts at Pocono are viewed as some of the hairiest in NASCAR, with drivers sometimes getting six-wide as drivers race up to speed. However, not all corners at the track are suited for cars running next to each other.

Chase Elliott discovered this on the Lap 104 restart when tried to use the momentum he gained going down the Long Pond straightaway to get a run on Joey Logano heading into Turn 2. The gamble failed to pay off for Elliott, as he got loose and slid up the track into Logano, putting both cars into the wall.

Logano had one of the strongest cars in the race up until this incident. He led a race-high 38 laps before having to pit and restart back in the pack where he ran into trouble.

After scoring six consecutive top-10 finishes in May and early June, Elliott has now finished outside of the top 10 in the last six races, including four finishes outside of the top 30.

Unbuckled

One week after running into trouble on a restart at Indy, four-time-champ-turned-substitute driver Jeff Gordon experienced something new on Lap 109 at Pocono. As he transitioned from second to third gear coming to the green flag, his seat belt came unlatched.

He then pulled the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet down the frontstretch and out of the pack that stormed off into Turn 1. He was able to fasten the seat belt again but lost many positions in the process. The team worked on the latch during a pit stop and were able to fix the issue, but it caused quite the scare for Gordon at the time.

Underdog Prevails

Regan Smith’s Sprint Cup Series career has endured many highs and lows, from losing the fall 2008 race at Talladega due to a pass under the yellow line, to earning his first career victory at Darlington Raceway in 2011. 

Thanks to a little luck and some help from Mother Nature, his performance on Monday was a moment to celebrate as he brought the No. 7 car home third. This ties his 2011 Brickyard 400 finish as the second-highest result of his Sprint Cup career.

He used a strategy similar to Buescher as he last pitted on Lap 102 and remained on the track while others made green flag pit stops. He ran second to the eventual winner right up until the moments before the race-ending yellow flag but was passed by Keselowski and ended up third.

This ties Tommy Baldwin Racing’s best finish as an organization as Dave Blaney also finished third at Talladega in October 2011.

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News

VIDEO: Chris Buescher Loves His Jammies

Chris Buescher is all in for National Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day.

Today’s national day of recognition hits close to home for the Casey Cares Foundation, which provides pajamas to critically ill children in hospitals. It is one of many programs the foundation engages in, which also includes taking families to sporting events and concerts in addition to the tens of thousands of new pajamas they have provided.

Front Row Motorsports and Roush Fenway Racing have teamed with Ford Performance to spread the message in an entertaining way: pit stops in pajamas.

Buescher and his team made a video with the help of Ford Performance where they are seen wearing their pajamas during pit stop practice. Buescher is a fan of the Minions – specifically Stuart – and decked himself out in a Minions T-shirt and pajama bottoms.

He later admitted he wanted to wear a Minion onesie but couldn’t get one in time.

“I think we did probably four pit stops just to try and make it as goofy as possible. We didn’t have to be serious; we were encouraged not to be,” Buescher said of the video. “We gave the guys some time to goof off and be themselves. They tried to do a little Batman versus Superman play but figured it wasn’t the best time for it.

“Just a lot of guys goofing off and having a good time and a way to relax a little bit. Usually, pit practice is very serious and very stressful for a lot of guys as they try to make sure they’re ready to go for the weekend. So we did do our normal pit practice and then did about half of it and quickly went to doing the rest with pajamas.”

Buescher’s team is also decked out in their favorite nightwear, including capes and masks.

“Seeing pit stops in pajamas is really cool, and they actually did it in about the same time as when they’re wearing the regular fire suit – even with the capes,” said Rodney Fetters, pit crew coach for Roush Fenway Racing. “When I saw these guys doing pit stops in pajamas I really thought it was something special. I’m glad we were chosen to do this for Casey Cares because it’s a worthy cause and was a lot of fun.

“That’s what means the most to all of us.”

Casey Cares will ship the pajamas collected on behalf of Roush Fenway Racing to the VCU Hospital in Richmond, Virginia. The Sprint Cup Series will race at Richmond International Raceway this weekend.

“We are so excited to team up with Ford Performance to help us raise awareness for our Casey Cares pajama program,” said Casey Cares founder and executive director Casey Baynes. “We love seeing the NASCAR guys going all in on this with their PJs! Our kids and their families are going through such difficult times with rigorous medical treatments and for them having Front Row Motorsports and Roush Fenway Racing supporting them is such a huge boost for their spirits.”

See Buescher and his team celebrate National Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day below.


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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or staff. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.